EnerDel says it will come out with a lithium-ion battery for plug-in hybrids that will cost $1,500, a development that could go a long way to making these cars palatable in terms of price.
The Indianapolis-based company, which recently received a $6.5 million grant from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), hopes to deliver the battery to car manufacturers for their 2010 lineups, according to Charles Gassenheimer, vice chairman of the company. The 2010 model cars will start coming out in September 2009, he said.
EnerDel will mostly aim at selling batteries to manufacturers to incorporate into cars coming off the line and not aftermarket modifiers.
How much cheaper will an EnerDel-energized plug-in hybrid be compared to a regular one? It's hard to say. Gassenheimer, though, asserts that the company's batteries will cost half as much or less as nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are used in some plug-in retrofits these days.
The price the company is quoting is fairly cheap. The National Renewable Energy Lab has put out reports estimating that the battery price should be able to come down to $2,500 or more. So if EnerDel could hit its goal--and it's an if--it could help. The grant will be used to drive costs down further.
The battery is a lithium titanate battery. Competitor Altair Nanotechnologies uses a similar chemistry. Meanwhile, A123 Systems, which has received millions in venture funds, builds a lithium potassium battery. Gassenheimer stated that his company's lithium titanate batteries run at lower temperatures than potassium ones and thus are more safe. Lower operating temperatures also mean that car manufacturers won't have to include additional cooling systems for the battery alone. (Notebooks use lithium cobalt batteries, which run hotter.)